Saturday, 17 March 2012

This is my first attempt at a blog so bear with me.  I am an alcohol researcher and in time most of my comments will be around alcohol use in the UK but this morning an article on the BBC news had me spitting feathers.  In the forthcoming budget the Coalition Government intends to stop national public sector pay deals in a bid to allow private sector pay in the regions of the UK to catch up.

When is this demonisation of the public sector going to stop?  Shortly there will be an increase in public sector pension contributions and this is likely to reduce most public sectors disposable income by £40-60 per year that is over £500 possible spending money lost to the wider economy annually per head.  Something that is barely mentioned when bland and complacent comments are made about economic growth.

The result of regional pay deals is likely to mean diminished standards of living to all but the very rich-why?  One of the failures of all politicians is to be honest about current employment in the UK.  Often a picture of work practices 30 years ago is assumed.  Jobs if they can be found now are often poorly paid, part-time, short-term contracts and with minimal employment protection.  This is the Britain of the much vaunted private sector led economy.

Now you can argue about whether it was a good policy to spread many public sector jobs outside of London and the South East.  I live in London and originally come from the south west and can attest that generally the standards of living are far lower outside what I have heard called the "gated community inside the M25" than within it.  The impact of regional pay deals is the disparity between the south east and the rest of Britian is likely to get wider.  A public sector salary in an area outside of the south east (e.g Newcastle) is likely to provide a good standard of living but this also supports businesses and services in the local area.  There does seem to be a belief held by some that public sector workers dont pay taxes or contribute to the wider economy.  I very much doubt business in areas such as the North West, North East, South Wales and Central Scotland (already struggling) to name but a few are jumping for joy.

We are all going to be poorer.  The aim is to allow private sector salaries to catch up in the regions.  It is not going to happen because there are no jobs now and thus for the few that exist low salaries can be paid in the regions.  This is the law of the market and we all know where that has led us.  In short the private sector is not going to catch up because of the structural changes in employment which politicians of all hues fail to acknowledge.  As a result of these vindictive proposals the country becomes more divided, the middle is squeezed even harder. the rich get richer as we slide inexorably further to the right.   

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